An Apple a Day ? Apple leads American Customer Satisfaction Index for Computers

In the 2006 American Customer Satisfaction Index Apple scores highest of all computer makers. Even though overall, customers were less satisfied with their computer manufacturers than with their car dealers,

Apple Computer led the pack among computer individual vendors with a rating of 83, a 2.5 percent improvement over last year’s score. Dell, under siege all year for its customer service problems, rebounded from 2005, improving its score by 5.4 percent to 78. (taken from the C|Net report)

I take it this rating was measured before the impact of the self-inflammatory batteries surfaced (although this will hit Apple as well, I’m afraid).

So ? back to one of my favorite topics, the differences between Macs and PCs 🙂 The question is: Does Apple really offer better overall quality, or is there a mechanism at work called Reduction of Cogntive Dissonance, as some critics might say? Mac owners will have paid quite a bit of money for their machines, probably feeling the (perceived) premium price must have its reason in higher quality. (Reduction of Cognitive Dissonance means: you tend to change your perception of an event or an item after you’ve taken a decision that might be seen as supportive of the event or the item. This is done to reduce the amount of unpleasant suspense that arises when you appreciate one thing and do the other. So you start appreciating the second thing instead of the first. It’s one of the most powerful mechanisms researched in Social Psychology, first described by Leon Festinger in 1956.)

I guess it’s a bit of both: There are differences in quality, but some of what makes a Machead’s eyes shine doesn’t happen on the screen in front of him, but between his ears. What counts, in the end, is what makes people more productive and what feels less effortful. On my personal scale for Joy of Use, my Mac ranges lightyears ahead of my PC (at work ? at home, a PC is unthinkable, and the Dell laptop my wife needs for work is grudgingly admitted to our wifi network ? if it succeeds in finding a connection. D’oh.).

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